Regular readers will know that I love a good bargain and love a good freebie even more! Your phone is a great tool for getting free or discounted stuff when you're out and about, so here's some of our favourite apps and how you can use them to save money!
If there's any we've missed but you use, let us know.
Wuntu is the loyalty application for Three customers. It has some great deals such as free Costa Coffees, discount food at Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge, free sweets and much more. Deals typically arrive at 8:30 am on a Wednesday, so you want to be checking the app then as some offers are limited in number. If you're not a Three customer, pick up a 3 PAYG SIM to get started. You can pick them up for 99p in most supermarkets or for free from the Three website. You'll need an unlocked or dual SIM phone to activate of course, but once you've set up the app, you can take the SIM back out. Since you're getting cool free stuff from 3, it might be nice to give a little back by topping up or using as your secondary network.
O2's Priority is similar to Wuntu but it was 'the original' app of this type. As with Wuntu deals come and go, but the headline offer from Priority is a free Caffe Nero drink every Tuesday! As an added bonus, you still get a free loyalty stamp in the Nero app and even large size drinks are covered. Nice! The best offers tend to be around 'occasions' (chocolates for mothers day, for example) but it's worth having installed and checking in frequently. As with Wuntu, pick up a cheap SIM or get one free from the O2 website. Note that O2's policy has changed recently, and Priority can only be activated using SIM cards with credit, so it's going to cost you 10 quid to get up and running (that's the minimum top up). It's probably worth it though, you could make that back in less than a month in free coffees alone. Again, you'll need an unlocked or dual SIM phone and you don't need to keep the SIM in it post activation.
Now for something completely different. Curve is a debit card that aggregates all your other cards. It works like this - sign up to Curve, get your free card in the post, install the app, associate all your other cards and you're ready to go. You can spend out and about with the contactless card and choose which one it maps to instantly in the app. Paid for something on the wrong card? You can use the 'back in time' feature to change it post-payment. The app has a reward card built in where you can earn credit by spending at certain merchants or by referring friends. There are lots of other features such as purchase insights, instant card lock, super cheap currency exchange, fee free cash withdrawal from credit cards and much more. Google Pay support will be coming soon too, which will really make it amazing. I love Curve and use it all the time. You can order your free card via the Curve app and even better, if you use the referral code 'TBXZH' you'll get a free fiver on your reward card. Free money!
Quidco is one of the two major 'cashback' players in the UK. If you ever buy anything online, you should always check Quidco and its rival TopCashback to see if cashback is available. The way it works is like this - you start at the cashback site, sign in, complete your purchase and then you receive a percentage of your purchase back as 'credit' (this varies per merchant and is listed on the cashback site). This can then be withdrawn when it reaches a certain threshold to your bank account or to gift vouchers for other merchants with a percentage bonus. It works really well and is absolutely a no-brainer, as you're going to earn money on things you'd be buying anyway! Sign up at the Quidco website and you'll earn £5 straight away, refer friends and family and you can earn free credit too.
Quidco ClickSnap is a Quidco specific service designed for use in-store. It has its own app, but shares the account with the main Quidco site. ClickSnap works by showing you a list of offers at the main supermarkets. A recent one was 'get a free bar of Galaxy chocolate' for example. In order to redeem, you buy the item at the designated supermarket, snap a picture of the receipt, upload it in the app then the cost is returned to you as credit. This works particularly well as often the credited amount is more than what you actually paid (if, for example, the item was on a special offer), so you can get the goods and end up in profit! Sign up at the Quidco website in the same way as above.
TopCashBack is a Quidco rival and works in exactly the same way. It has its own Clicksnap like service (although it doesn't have a dedicated app for this) and quite often offers differ between the two services - it's worth being signed up to both. Sign up at the TopCashBack website and try and remember to use it!
Now for something a little bit different. VoucherCloud is all about saving money, although the app does occasionally have freebies too. Codes are broken down into categories and also displayed on a map so you can spot local deals. Alerting functionality is available, although I've found this to be a bit of a battery drain. Vouchercloud is particularly good for discounts on restaurants, although you need to be careful as many deals don't apply at the weekend. There is also a 'competitions' section.
Vouchercodes works in exactly the same way as Vouchercloud, but has a slightly different set of deals, so if you're on the hunt for a bargain, it's worth having both installed.
As well as being included in the O2 Priority offer above, Caffe Nero have their own app. After installation you can get a free coffee straight away by entering the code 'WELCOMETONERO2018' and each time you buy a drink, you'll earn one stamp (10 gets you a free drink). Nero is particularly good as there are frequently offers and promotions for freebies or extra stamps, it seems to be the most generous of the coffee chains (and my favourite).
Krispy Kreme donuts are the most ridiculously sweet, unhealthy and tasty donuts. Their app is particularly good for freebies too! Aside from offering very frequent discount promotions (e.g. 'buy a dozen original glazed get a dozen free' or this week 'get a free cold drink when you buy one if temperature is above 20 degrees'), after you enter your date of birth, anniversary, partner's and children's birthdays, you'll generally get a free donut on each of those occasions every year. Excellent! There are also occasional other giveaways such as free drinks. Calories ahoy!
The Greggs app is surprisingly good for freebies. As with most chains it has a loyalty programme built in, but it also has very frequent free promotions - in recent months I've had Lucozade, coffee, crisps, donuts, all via in app notifications that a promotion is available to be redeemed. Healthy. :-) If you live near a Greggs (by the way, apparently there are 29 in Newcastle, how crazy is that?!), then it's worth an install.
Despite the name, Unidays isn't just for university students, it's for all students. If you can validate your educational status with a school / college / uni email address, you can activate Unidays and receive discounts and promotions both online and in physical stores. The list of merchants is pretty extensive, so it's definitely worth doing,
Student Beans is very similar to Unidays but has a slightly different list of merchants, so it is worth installing both. Freebies are rare in these apps, but discounts are pretty healthy, particularly in the stores in which young people like to shop, so whether you're installing for yourself or for your kids, the app is worth having to hand,
Airtime Rewards is a new concept which works because it's zero effort yet potentially saves a bit of money. Upon signup, the app will confirm which mobile network you are on, whether you are on a contract or PAYG and then link to your debit or credit cards. From then on, when you make purchases at certain retailers, you'll earn a percentage back which is then deducted from your phone bill. Pretty neat! The list of supported merchants is pretty small right now, but it's a bit of a no brainer given how easy it is to set up. Redeem code 'FWMLFWQW' to get 30p credit straight away. Worth nothing is that you can link your Curve to Airtime Rewards for double cashback!
It's easy to discount Groupon as being useful simply because quite often the offers aren't that great compared to what you can get going direct. In reality however, there are always discount vouchers for Groupon floating around, such that I don't think I've ever paid full price! If I'm out and about with family visiting and I want to take them for a meal or an afternoon tea, Groupon rarely lets me down on the bargain front. Get started on the Groupon website.
Google Opinion Rewards is a great way to earn free Google Play credit. After installation. the app will pop up optional surveys about places you've been, demographically relevant merchants etc. and after completing them, you will earn a small amount of play credit. The surveys are very easy, very short and non-intrusive - it's a great way to gradually build credit for your next Play Store purchase.
OK, so this isn't for everyone, but if you happen to bank with Barclays and your household income is eligible for a Barclays Premier Banking account, then consider switching and installing the app. Doing so will net you a host of benefits including a free Patisserie Valerie hot drink every day (!), free entry to English Heritage sites, discounts at a whole host of restaurants and much more.
I suspect nearly everybody is aware of HotUKDeals, but just in case, the site is an hot, UK based, deal aggregator, as the name suggests! It's dangerous, as there's plenty of scope for picking up 'bargains' that you don't really need, but if you're planning to buy something specific you can use its alerting functionality to let you know if a deal crops up. The app is pretty nice for browsing offers too.
Finally, Google Pay. While Google Pay won't really save you much money or offer you much in the way of freebies, it doesn't occasionally pop up a deal and is a winner when it comes to convenience if you a) have a NFC enabled phone and b) your bank is supported. One way you can earn is by referring friends - you'll both earn £20 credit when they sign up. Follow this link and enter code '' for your own signup bonus.
Zeek is a really cool site for buying and selling gift cards. From a bargain hunting perspective it's most of interest for buying cards and the discounts can be considerable. As an added bonus, you can save further on Zeek cards by going via TopCashback! Even better, when you sign up using this link you'll get £5 back from them when you make your first purchase!